Functional Medicine Takes Your Body’s Resilience and Wellness to the Next Level

IV therapy in San Diego

Wellness is a constant battle in a world full of health detriments. We read food labels. We avoid fumes from cars and cleaning products. We seek time to exercise and ways to make our jobs less sedentary. We manage stress.

The world wasn’t always like this. For all the solutions of modern medicine and technology, we have lost a purity of our environment, adding new challenges. Life in a city, even one of moderate population density like San Diego, makes these factors more prevalent.

Health Challenges We All Face

Chronic stress, sedentary routines, processed foods, and air pollution are all challenges that have arisen with modern times.

Stress, for example, evolved in nature to trigger survival instincts, not to deal with deadlines, finances, or traffic jams. These days, stress can make toxins harder to eliminate and quality sleep harder to achieve, depleting our body function, brain function, and overall wellbeing.

Our body’s detox system was also developed in a less polluted world. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate build up toxins from our bodies and diet.

Air pollution; however, is something that it is impossible to avoid and its effects can be as damaging as smoking. San Diego ranks 6th in the United States for cities with the most ozone pollution.

Since we can’t avoid certain health factors, we need a leg up to beat them. That is why Spark Health strives to be a leader in integrative medicine in San Diego.

Solutions We Can All Employ

Diet and exercise are an important foundation for a sound mind and body. For most people, an ideal exercise routine is daily cardio and/or aerobic with intermittent weight training. A balanced diet is crucial with the right variety of vitamins and nutrients to boost your system and keep it at optimal level. Antioxidants are our best weapon to fight toxicity.

Free Radicals are unstable molecules that cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. They can come from air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and more. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.

Solution – Integrative Medicine and IV Therapy

Functional medicine takes your body’s resilience and wellness to the next level. Spark Health is a leading Naturopathic practice providing nutrition counseling, vitamin injections and IV therapy in San Diego to name a few.  Each IV therapy session includes a shot of glutathione, your body’s most important anti-oxidant. Glutathione optimizes the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients in each treatment, which are tailored to promote a range of benefits, from general health and restoration, to weight loss, athleticism, and mood.

Integrative and functional medicine allow your cells and organs to better process the nutrients consumed and in return provide a vitality that enables you to be more active, aware and productive.

With integrative medicine, we can definitively win the fight against health hazards that are all around us and become our best selves. To learn more or to book a visit please visit www.MySparkHealth.com or contact Spark Health at 858.228.4188 with any questions.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Support Cancer Treatment?

Spark Lifestyle Services

Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer

Many patients that are diagnosed with cancer feel overwhelmed and are looking for guidance in treatment options, as well as recommendations for natural therapies that can help support them through treatment.

Working with a Naturopathic Doctor that is trained in and specializes in integrative cancer treatment can allow patients to receive the benefit of conventional treatments while minimizing negative side effects.

Naturopathic doctors who specialize in naturopathic oncology understand both the standard treatments used by medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, and how best to work in a collaborative model of cancer co-treatment.

There are many ways in which naturopathic oncology care can benefit patients.

Many patients experience side effects from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, including hot flashes, insomnia, taste changes, mouth sores, fatigue, bowel changes, nausea and neuropathy.

Naturopathic medicine can help to prevent and minimize the risk of these side effects so that patients can maintain their regular treatment schedule without interruption, and can help resolve lingering side effects from conventional treatment.

Screening for any potential interactions between conventional and natural cancer therapies is another important component of integrative cancer care, as these interactions may affect the efficacy of treatment.

After patients have completed treatment, we work to support the natural cancer-fighting ability of the immune system to help prevent recurrences or other types of cancer.

Naturopathic Medicine at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about how naturopathic medicine can support your cancer treatment, please reach out and give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

Dr. Aliza Cicerone

Medical Director at Spark Health

Here are the Differences Between B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs.

two people receiving IV therapy treatments

 

B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

Patients often ask about the difference between getting a B12 Shot and getting a Vitamin IV. These two services are both valuable in their own ways, depending on what your health goals are!

When and why should I come in for a B12 shot? 

We generally recommend coming in for a B12 shot weekly for health maintenance, or as needed for specific health concerns.

The great thing about the B12 shots at Spark Health is that we put much more than B12 in our shots. We have 16 proprietary nutrient blends for all types of health goals, from increased energy to immune health to detox.

Our shots have been formulated by world class experts in injectable nutrients.

Rather than giving 1mL of vitamin B12 and sending you on your way, we jam pack our shots with up to 3mL of nutrients!

These injections go directly into the muscle and slowly absorb into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Our B12 shots are also helpful when you need a quick boost and don’t have the time to get a vitamin IV. 

Does the B12 shot hurt? 

The B12 shot is given into the top of the gluteal muscle with a very small needle, and we add anesthetic to make it a very comfortable experience for our patients. Most patients describe it as feeling like a little pinch.

What are the benefits of B12?

Vitamin B12 aids in the conversion of food (fat, protein and carbohydrates) into energy. 

Vitamin B12 may be depleted due to various factors, including:

  • irritable bowel disease
  • celiac disease
  • bariatric surgery
  • certain infections (such as H. Pylori)
  • certain diets (vegetarian and vegan)
  • certain medications (such as oral contraceptives, PPIs, Metformin, antibiotics and corticosteroids) (3, 4, 5) 

Vitamin B12 is also necessary for immune health. Deficiency of this vitamin in humans has been shown in research to decrease lymphocytes and suppress natural killer (NK) cell activity.

NK cells are a type of white blood cell that attack cells infected by viruses. Supplementation of Vitamin B12 reverses these effects, providing us with the defenders necessary to keep us healthy. (1, 2)

What type of B12 do you use?

Here at Spark Health, we love B12 and use a specific form known as methylcobalamin. 

Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 that can be used immediately without modification or conversion in the body.

This is especially important for people with genetic mutations that make it difficult to activate compounds in the body by methylation.

When and why should I come in for a vitamin IV?

Vitamin IVs are valuable in their ability to deliver plenty of nutrients at once, with 100% bioavailability.

A vitamin IV has more room for nutrients than a vitamin shot, so it is helpful when you need a lot of support fast!

We recommend coming in for a vitamin IV at the first sign of a cold, or whenever you’re feeling fatigued or lacking energy.

The nutrients in a vitamin IV go directly into the bloodstream and are delivered to the tissues that need them most.

Here at Spark Health, our “fast bag” vitamin IVs take about 15-20 minutes to drip, are only $85, and contain all the B vitamins, vitamin C, and essential minerals you need to stay in tip-top condition.

We offer custom formulas that address a variety of health goals, from weight loss to energy to stress reduction. 

So, can you break down the main differences between the B12 shots and the Vitamin IVs?

B12 Shot:

  • Treatment Duration: Less than 5 minutes
  • Delivery method: Gluteal muscle
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 3 mL
  • Average Cost: $40

Vitamin IV (“Fast Bag”):

  • Treatment Duration: 15-20 min.
  • Delivery method: Vein accessed through the inside of the arm
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 120 mL
  • Average Cost: $85

Vitamin IV Therapy and Vitamin Shots at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about the vitamin shots or vitamin IVs we offer at Spark Health, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

` The Spark Team

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Maggini, et al. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. British Journal of Nutrition (2007), 98
  2. Tamura J, Kubota K, Murakami H, Sawamura M, Matsushima T, Tamura T, Saitoh T, Kurabayashi H & Naruse T (1999) Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8þT lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficient patients by methyl-B12 treatment. Clin Exp Immunol;16,28-32.
  3. Berenson, et al. Effect of hormonal contraceptives on vitamin B12 level and the association of the latter with bone mineral density. Contraception. 2012 November ; 86(5): 481-487
  4. Zhao-Wei Ting, et al. Risk Factors of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Patients Receiving Metformin. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1975-1979
  5. Herrmann et al. Causes and early diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105:680-5.

Non-Pharmaceutical Options for Symptoms of ADHD

Alternative Treatments for ADHD Symptoms

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition characterized by persistent inattention and/or impulsive, hyperactive behaviors.

These symptoms show up in childhood and interfere with social, academic or occupational activities. ADHD is understood to be a result of multifactorial causes including genetics.

Genes specifically affecting the regulation of dopamine and glutamate are associated with ADHD. Neurologically, there are differences in brain structure in the frontal cortex, cerebellum and parietal lobes as well as reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex in patients affected by ADHD compared to those without ADHD.

Other biological elements associated with ADHD include:

  • Prematurity and low birth weight
  • Exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic stressors during early childhood (2)

Although symptoms of ADHD tend to improve in late adolescence, many adults still suffer from this condition. The standard treatments for ADHD are stimulant drugs such as amphetamine salts (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin), but these drugs are associated with a high level of abuse and side effects. 

If you answer yes to any of the below questions, we are ready to lead you toward your highest expression of health through a personalized, individual approach. 

  • Do you or a loved one suffer from ADHD?
  • Are you interested in taking a different approach from the standard pharmaceutical treatments?
  • Do you want to learn more about specialized testing that can help address some of the imbalances underlying ADHD? 
  • Do you want to explore the non-pharmaceutical options that are on the cutting edge of addressing this condition? 

Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments for ADHD Treatments

There are many angles we are able to take as Naturopathic Doctors to help address conditions like ADHD.

The first consideration is the importance of the gut-brain axis (GBA). There is a direct connection between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the enteric nervous system (the neurons responsible for intestinal functions).

Did you know that the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the body is actually produced in the gut itself? The enteric nervous system surprisingly uses more than 30 neurotransmitters.

The activities going on in the gut are often indicative of processes going on in the brain, and vice versa. It is well understood that gastrointestinal inflammation and dysbiosis can contribute to alterations in mood and behavior.

Specifically, research shows a connection between altered GI flora and ADHD. Therefore, if we are able to address intestinal functioning properly, we are able to change the activities of the central nervous system. 

We do this by using stool testing and other personalized functional lab testing. From the results of a stool analysis, we may make specific recommendations on supplements, probiotics, or dietary changes that can enhance gastrointestinal functioning and therefore help address ADHD symptoms. (1,2)

There is also evidence that persons with ADHD exhibit more susceptibility to food allergies than persons without ADHD. (2) Improvements in behavior can be seen often on certain types of elimination diets. (3)

Here at Spark Health, we can test for antibodies to 96 or 184 foods, depending on individual needs.

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies in the reaction that they create in the body. Many doctors test only immediate allergies to foods, such as peanuts, which can lead to immediate anaphylactic reactions.

But this doesn’t give us information about how repeated exposure to certain foods over a long term can impact health. By testing for food sensitivities, we take the guesswork out of the equation, so you have a clear sense of which foods to avoid and which foods to include in the diet. 

Other tests that we may utilize include neurotransmitter testing (measured by a urine sample), which allows us to assess levels of amino acids and amines that turn into the chemical messengers that make up our brain chemistry.

Although we are unable to directly measure the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, we can use urinary levels to see certain patterns that may be associated with disorders such as ADHD. From these results, we can create a personalized plan that can help to balance out neurotransmitters and alleviate symptoms. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Spark Health approach to personalized natural medicine, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or you can email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals!

~The Spark Team

REFERENCES 

1. Carabotti M, et al. The Gut-Brain axis: Interactions Between Enteric Microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems. Annals of Gastroenterology (2015); 28,203-209

2. Petra AI, et al. Gut-microbiota-brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation. Clinical Therapeutics (2015); 37

3. De Theije CG, et al. Food Allergy and Food-Based Therapies in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Pediatric Allergy Immunol. 2014;25:218-226

How Micronutrient Deficiencies Could Be Holding You Back from Your Optimal Health

Spark Lifestyle Services

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

Micronutrient Deficiencies

Sometimes eating healthy, exercising and taking a multivitamin isn’t enough to support optimal health.

If you are doing those things but still feel fatigued, stressed, or otherwise out of balance, testing for micronutrient deficiencies should be considered. Micronutrient deficiency refers to having a low amount of the vitamins and minerals your body requires for daily biological processes.

Approximately 40 micronutrients are required in the human diet. Inadequate intake of micronutrients is known as an important contributor to increased rates of illness. (1,3)

In developing countries, micronutrient deficiencies are widespread, and cause very serious symptoms and even death. In the U.S., deficiencies can be less obvious and can cause silent issues that accumulate over time, such as DNA damage.

In fact, micronutrient deficiencies can damage DNA in the same way that radiation does. Micronutrient deficiencies have been associated with cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, weight gain and obesity, cognitive issues, and lowered immunity. (3)

Common Micronutrient Deficiencies

  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • selenium
  • vitamin A
  • calcium
  • folate

Am I at Risk Of Having A Micronutrient Deficiency?

Those particularly at high risk of micronutrient deficiencies are:

  • patients on a low calorie diet
  • smokers
  • patients following a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • those who eat few fruits and vegetables
  • patients who have undergone gastric or bariatric surgeries, and those recovering from illnesses.

However, anyone can be affected by micronutrient deficiencies. (2)

Micronutrient Testing

Micronutrient testing provides information on how well the body utilizes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants. The micronutrient test that we use at Spark Health functionally measures how nutrients are used inside the cells, specifically lymphocytes.

The lymphocytes are placed in various nutrient conditioned media, and are observed for growth. Since the life span of a lymphocyte is approximately four to six months, this micronutrient test provides an average of nutrient status over a longer period of time.

This is very different from simply testing blood levels, which are constantly changing. Furthermore, the micronutrient panel we run does not require any fasting or specific preparation. Patients do not need to stop taking their medications or supplements, and can even receive IV nutrient therapy without it affecting their results.

IV Nutrient Therapy

Based on this micronutrient test, we are able to make personalized recommendations.

We can make a customized IV bag based on what your micronutrient test says you are deficient in. We can deliver concentrated levels vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids directly into the bloodstream through an IV.

With certain nutrients, IV therapy provides up to 10 times the absorption of oral supplementation. By administering the nutrients directly into the bloodstream, our cells are able to effectively metabolize the nutrients they require for optimal function and healing.

Spark Health’s IV Nutrient Therapy Program

For more information about how micronutrient deficiencies could be holding you back from your optimal health, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

REFERENCES

1. Black, R.E. Micronutrient deficiency – an underlying cause of morbidity and mortality. Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(2):79

2. Shankar, P, Boylan, M, Sriram, K. Micronutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery. Nutrition 2010; 26: 1031–1037.

3. Ames, B.N. Micronutrient Deficiencies A Major Cause of DNA Damage. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;889:87-106

Sun Safety and Skin Health

Spark Lifestyle Services

Summer is just around the corner which means our exposure to sun will increase. Whether it’s laying out on the beach or walking to and from our cars, we are constantly exposed to the sun.

We recommend some amount of sunlight in order to support optimal Vitamin D levels, hormones, and a healthy mood but for optimum skin health, you want to avoid too much exposure to sun.

Sun Safety Tips

  • Choose your sunscreen wisely.
  • Pay attention to the inactive ingredients.
  • Reapply every 2 hours.
  • Support your sunburn.
  • Increase your antioxidants.
  • Take care of sun-damaged skin.

What sunscreen should I use?

Aim to use a mineral based sunscreen like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of a chemical sunscreen in order to reflect the harmful rays. Many of the chemical sunscreens have been shown to have hormone disrupting effects and high rates of allergic reactions. Not all chemical sunscreens are created equal and the Environmental Working Group has put together an easy chart to help you navigate sunscreen ingredients.

Here are some of our favorite mineral sunscreen brands:

  • MyChelle
  • W.S. Badger Company
  • Goddess Garden
  • All Terrain

Pay attention to the inactive ingredients.

Stay away from sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) and keep your Vitamin A use to at night.

How often should I apply sunscreen?

Despite the number of your SPF, you still need to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure you are continuously protected from the sun.

What do I do if I get sunburned?

In the case you are overexposed to too much sunlight here are some of our favorite after-sun soothing products.

  • Goddess Garden After-Sun Gel with Aloe Spray
  • W.S. Badger After Sun Balm
  • All Terrain Aloe Gel Skin Relief
  • MyChelle Cucumber Cooler Soothing Spray

Increase your antioxidants.

Increasing your dietary and supplemental antioxidants will help protect you from the inside out.

Focus on antioxidant rich foods like berries, leafy greens, carrots, red bell peppers, salmon, chocolate, green tea and high quality coffee.

Talk to your Spark doctor about adding in specific antioxidant support during these months of higher sun exposure.

Take care of sun-damaged skin.

Sometimes we don’t notice the after-effects of our sun exposure until years later. Here are some of our favorite ways to reverse the signs of aging due to sun exposure:

  • Sunscreen.
  • Vitamin.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
  • Vitamin A.
  • Growth Factors.

Sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen daily to any areas of sun damage no matter what. This includes your neck, chest, and don’t forget the back of your hands!

Vitamin C.

For added sun protection in the morning use a topical Vitamin C serum for its antioxidant benefits. We love Skin Authority’s Super-C Serum and Devita’s C-Pro Plus for a 20% Vitamin C content that will help to brighten dark spots and increase collagen production.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids.

AHAs are exfoliants that are used to get rid of dead skin cells and can improve the appearance of sun damaged skin. We love Skin Authority’s Resurfacing Accelerator and Suki Skincare’s Resurfacing Enzyme Peel.

Vitamin A.

Whether you can tolerate a retinol or need a gentler version like retinyl palmitate, vitamin A is one of the best anti-aging nutrients around. Remember to only use in the evening! Our favorites are Skin Authority’s Vitamin A Cell Renewal and AllVia’s Retinol Cream.

Growth Factors.

With sun damage comes fine lines and wrinkles and one the best ways to nourish sun damaged skin is with Skin Authority’s Skin Growth Factor Technology (SGF-4). Using the Wrinkle Reversing Serum and Dramatic Eye Lift in the morning will tighten and brighten those areas that have had a little too much sun.

Is My Sunscreen Safe?

If you are curious about the safety of your sunscreen you have at home, use the Environmental Working Group Cosmetics Database to search for the safety of your products.

Learn More About Spark Health

For more information about Sun Safety and Skin Health, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

Acne and IV Nutrient Therapy

two people receiving IV therapy treatments

Acne is one of those conditions that can have a multitude of causes. At Spark Health, it is always our goal to be able to identify the root cause of your acne so that we can prevent it from happening in the first place.

The triggers can be multifactorial which is where a functional lab evaluation with a Spark doctor can help to identify your personal acne triggers. Whether the cause is coming from dysregulated hormones or a poor functioning digestive system, nutrient deficiencies are almost always involved.

Since it can be a challenge to achieve proper nutrient absorption from our food and/or supplements, IV nutrient therapy is a great way to ensure you are getting 100% absorption of those key nutrients.

IV Nutrient Therapy for Acne

Our Acne Support IV bag provides comprehensive support for our patients suffering with acne breakouts.

Here is a breakdown of my favorite acne fighting nutrients that are highlighted in our Acne Support IV bag:

  • Vitamin B3: Acne prevention, lowers sebum production, down regulates inflammation
  • Vitamin B5 : Acne prevention, balances oil production
  • Vitamin B6: Acne prevention associated with hormonal fluctuations
  • Carnitine: Works together with vitamin B5 to balance oil production, supports the immune system, increases cellular repair
  • Vitamin C: Antioxidant, supports collagen formation, boosts immune system, increases wound healing
  • Selenium: Antioxidant, reduces inflammation, thyroid supportive
  • Glutathione: Antioxidant, liver supportive, decreases inflammation, collagen supportive

Learn More About IV Nutrient Therapy and Acne

For more information about Acne and IV Nutrients, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for the Brain

Detox Basics

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

The Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein. The body produces ketones for fuel instead of burning sugars and carbohydrates for fuel.

Ketones are a fuel source that the liver produces when we break down fat. Evolutionarily speaking, we would produce ketones in a fasted state, when food was scarce.

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

There are plenty of health benefits of a ketogenic diet, but the benefits for the brain are particularly striking.

The ketogenic diet was originally designed to help decrease the frequency of seizures in patients with epilepsy. The diet has been studied to be especially effective in children and adult patients who have refractory seizures (seizures that do not respond well to anti-seizure medications). (1,2,7)

There is evidence that ketone bodies not only act as molecules for fuel, but also act as cell signaling molecules. These signaling molecules have strong anti-inflammatory actions and have been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the brain. (4)

Ketones have been shown to help reduce the damage that free radicals create in brain cells. Ketone bodies also support the vagal nerve, therefore increasing parasympathetic tone.

When our bodies are under parasympathetic tone, we are in a more rested and relaxed state. Having better parasympathetic tone can lead to stress reduction, improved sleep, and improved mood.

A ketogenic diet (or any diet that mimics a fasting state) increases levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is responsible for increasing connections between neurons in the brain. Low BDNF levels have been associated with neurodegenerative disorders.

In animal models, a ketogenic diet has been shown to decrease amyloid beta plaques, which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (3) Furthermore, the administration of ketones have been shown to improve memory in humans with Alzheimer’s disease. (5)

Additionally, in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain has trouble utilizing glucose for fuel. Therefore, switching its energy source to ketones results in improved cognition.

There is also some evidence that a Ketogenic diet may have therapeutic value in treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers usually study Parkinson’s disease with an animal model that utilizes the neurotoxin MPTP.

They use this neurotoxin to create injury to the brain that creates symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. Beta-hydroxybutyrate was shown in mouse models to decrease the toxicity that MPTP created. (8) Effects of a ketogenic diet are promising in some case studies and human studies with smaller sample sizes. (6)

It is evident that a ketogenic diet can also benefit patients that experience stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). The destruction of brain cells that results from strokes and brain injury involves cell death from glutamate. It is thought that Ketone bodies can actually prevent cellular death in the brain in cases of high glutamate. (9)

Overall, it is clear in the research that a ketogenic diet is not simply a means of weight loss, but a powerful therapeutic tool that can be utilized to help treat many different brain-based disorders.

Learn More About Ketogenic Diets

For more information about the benefits of a ketogenic diet for the brain, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark Health is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

REFERENCES

1. Paoli et al. Beyond weight loss: A review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013;67:789-796.

2. Kossoff et al. Ketogenic diets: An update for child neurologists. J. Child Neurol. 2009;24:979-988.

3. Van der Auwera et al. A ketogenic diet reduces amyloid beta 40 and 42 in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2005 2:28

4. Gasior et al. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the Ketogenic diet. Behav Pharmacol. 2006: 17(5-6):431-439

5. Reger, et al. Effects of B-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiology of Aging 25 (2004) 311-314

6. T. B. VanItallie et al. Treatment of Parkinson disease with diet-induced hyperketonemia: A feasibility study. Neurology Feb 2005, 64 (4) 728-730

7. Freeman JM et al. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet – 1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998;102:1358-1363.

8. Tieu K et al. Beta hydroxybutyrate rescues mitochondrial respiration and mitigates features of Parkinson disease. J Clin Invest. 2003;112:892-901

9. Stafstrom CE, Rho JM. The ketogenic diet as a treatment paradigm for diverse neurological disorders. Front. Pharmacol., 09 April 2012

Micro Needling for Acne Scars

Spark Lifestyle Services

One of the best indications that you might be interested in the Spark Health Level 1 micro needling treatment with hyaluronic acid is acne scars.

Micro needling is a non-invasive technique that uses tiny needles to stimulate collagen production and is safe for all skin types. Micro needling has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from acne scars looking for a non-invasive option.

What is Micro Needling?

Using the Eclipse MicroPen™, tiny needles are used to create micro channels in the skin. These channels allow for hyaluronic acid to penetrate the skin deeper than traditional applications.

When topical hyaluronic acid is combined with micro needling it accelerates the collagen deposition to be able to fill in acne scars and improve overall texture of the skin.

Acne scarring not only can affect a person’s physical appearance but can take a toll emotionally as well. Patients often feel frustrated that they are unable to leave the house without makeup despite their active acne being under control.

When working with acne scarring, we typically recommend 3 micro needling sessions spaced about 4 to 6 weeks apart for best results. The initial treatment is stimulating the immune response in the body and over 4 to 6 weeks is when the collagen is being produced to even out the skin’s tone and texture.

The procedure itself starts with cleansing and applying numbing cream to the face to make it a comfortable and pain free experience for patients.

Once your face is numb and cleansed, the hyaluronic based serum is applied to the face and micro needling begins. The actual micro needling only takes about 30 minutes for the face.

Patients will experience redness right after the treatment and look like they had a mild sunburn over the next 24 to 48 hours. There can be some mild peeling of the skin a few days after micro needling which is a normal part of the healing process. Keep your skin properly hydrated to minimize peeling.

Micro Needling for Acne Scars

The advantages of micro-needling over other more invasive treatments is that it is very well tolerated, involves minimal downtime and has little to no side effects.

A key benefit when it comes to treating acne scarring is that the micro-needling results are permanent once the scar has filled in.

Micro needling is often performed on the face but can be done safely anywhere on the body including neck, chest, and back as well.

What Skincare to Use After Micro Needling

An important component of any micro needling treatment is having the proper products for right after the treatment and during the weeks that the collagen is being produced.

We encourage patients to bring in all their current skincare and makeup products so that the proper after care regimen can be personalized for you and your skin type.

Some of our favorite key ingredients to use during the healing process days after the treatment include a hyaluronic acid based serum for cellular hydration and a moisturizer with growth factors to speed the healing process and collagen promotion.

Once the skin has fully healed, your more active ingredients can be reintroduced like alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids or salicylic acids, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

Micro Needling at Spark Health

For more information about Micro Needling and Acne Scars, fill out our Contact Us form, give us at a call at 858-228-4188 or email us at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team

What is the PRP Micro Needling Facial?

Spark Lifestyle Services

So what is the PRP Micro Needling Facial?

Well, the PRP Micro Needling Facial is a leading-edge, age management facial using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and an electronic micro needling pen.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Micro Needling uses the healing power of platelets and growth factors from your own blood to stimulate collagen growth, repair and regenerate damaged skin, and reverses signs of aging. This type of medical facial is commonly referred to as the Vampire Facial which was made popular by Kim Kardashian.

Let’s talk more about what PRP is:

(PRP) Platelet Rich Plasma is the nutrient-dense portion of your blood full of growth factors. These growth factors trigger the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in healthier and younger looking skin.

Let’s talk more about what Micro Needling is:

Micro Needling is a collagen induction therapy that improves your skin’s overall appearance by treating fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and discoloration. This procedure uses tiny needles to create microchannels in the skin that allow for PRP’s growth factors and hyaluronic acid to penetrate the skin deeper than traditional applications for superior results.

How is this medical facial performed?

We will draw a small amount of blood from your arm and place this in the centrifuge to isolate the PRP. After numbing cream is applied to the treatment area, the face is prepped for the procedure. Once the needling begins, the PRP and hyaluronic acid are applied topically, much like a serum, to allow maximum absorption into the dermis through microchannels created by the microneedles.

How long is the recovery time?

Immediately after the treatment, you will notice a slight redness of the skin, similar to a mild sunburn. The total healing time depends on the patient and the condition of the skin. On average, skin is slightly red for 2-3 days.

How long will it take till I see results?

You will notice an immediate “glow” to your skin. The first changes patients typically see are a decrease in pore size and improvement in overall skin tone and texture. Your full results develop over the course of a few weeks as the collagen matrix begins to lie down. Results continue to improve over months as collagen production continues.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients will need 2-3 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. For extensive or advanced signs of aging, 6-8 sessions may be needed. Maintenance PRP Micro Needling Facials are recommended every 6-12 months, depending on the individual and your doctor’s recommendation.

Advantages of the “PRP Micro Needling Facial”:

There are a lot of benefits to having the PRP Micro Needling Facial done at Spark Health. Some of the main benefits that our patients commonly rave about are as follows…

  • Enhances natural collagen production
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Decreases pore size
  • Fills in acne scars
  • Evens out skin discoloration
  • There is little to no downtime
  • Ideal for the patient who does not want any synthetic fillers

At Spark, we have advanced the PRP Micro Needling Facial (aka Vampire Facial) and taken it to the next level by developing 3 different levels of this medical facial geared towards our patient’s unique needs. Below is a synopsis of the PRP Micro Needling Facial levels and some of the add-on’s that are available.

Level 1:
Micro Needling Facial with Hyaluronic Acid

  • Purpose: To treat acne scarring and discoloration
  • Results: Seen over 4-8 weeks after treatment
  • Discomfort level: only a 2 out of 10
  • Recovery: 2-4 days
  • Procedure length: 1-2 hours
  • Number of recommended sessions: Typically, 3 treatments, 5-6 weeks apart

Level 2:
Micro Needling facial with Hyaluronic Acid and Platelet Rich Plasma.

  • Purpose: Increase collagen production to treat fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone/texture, age spots, acne scarring and discoloration
  • Results: Seen over 4-8 weeks after treatment
  • Discomfort level: only a 2 out of 10
  • Recovery: 2-4 days
  • Procedure length: 1-2 hours
  • Number of recommended sessions: Typically, 3 treatments, 5-6 weeks apart

Level 3:
Micro Needling Facial with Hyaluronic Acid, Platelet Rich Plasma, Wrinkle Reversing Serum/Moisturizing Lift Cream with SGF-4 Technology and Custom Beauty Bag IV

  • Combined with a Specially Formulated IV to Further Enhance Results:
  • Beauty Bag – “Collagen Builder”; includes a Glutathione Push
  • Beauty Bag – “Acne Support”; includes a Glutathione Push
  • Purpose: Increase collagen production to treat fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone/texture, age spots, acne scarring and discoloration
  • Results: Seen over 4-8 weeks after treatment
  • Discomfort level: only a 2 out of 10
  • Recovery: 2-4 days
  • Procedure length: 1-2 hours
  • Number of recommended sessions: Typically, 3 treatments, 5-6 weeks apart

Additional Areas:
Neck

Chest

Add-ons:

  • *Wrinkle Reversing Serum with SGF-4 Technology:
  • *Moisturizing Lift Cream with SGF-4 Technology:
  • *Beauty Bag – “Collagen Builder”; includes a Glutathione Push
  • *Beauty Bag – “Acne Support”; includes a Glutathione Push
  • *Sheet Mask

Enhance your skin naturally with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Micro Needling Facial by Spark Health

As the electronic micropen is applied to the skin, hundreds of superficial micro-channels are created every second. This process stimulates your skin’s natural ability to regenerate collagen and elastin.

The repair process begins almost immediately. New collagen fibers produce softer, firmer skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, discoloration, and acne scars, and improve skin texture.

To speak to one of the Spark doctors about the PRP Micro Needling Facial please reach out to us at (858) 228-4188 or you can send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

Spark is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.

Thank you,
The Spark Team